District officials attribute the dip to a variety of reasons:
• Jobs are easier to find and students are opting to work.
• College financial aid is harder to get and more are students are taking
time to serve in the armed forces to get college money.
• Competition from other colleges and ASU Downtown.
• Proposition 300's impact. Prop. 300, which passed last year, requires students to provide proper documentation proving they are legal United State residents. It denies undocumented immigrants in-state tuition or state funded education.
Phoenix College, located at 1202 W. Thomas Road, counted 11,097 students on the 45th day this fall, down from 12,213 during the same time last year. The numbers show a decrease in the Hispanic student population. They number 3,689 students compared to 4,053 in 2006.
Students from undocumented immigrant families can attend the community college but must pay a higher tuition. The same students, who might have had access to state Pell grants, are no longer eligible for them, college officials said.
Other Phoenix community colleges are in better shape.
The student population at South Mountain Community College remains steady. The 45th day head count shows 4,254 students are enrolled, down 14 students from fall 2006.
Unlike Phoenix College, student population did not plummet at South Mountain College, officials said, in part because population in the area is growing.
More than one-fourth of the student population is Hispanic but the campus draws its students from growth areas including Laveen, said Rob Price, director of marketing and public relations at South Mountain Community College.
"We've been holding our own," Price said.
Paradise Valley Community College has 183 fewer students on its 45th day count this fall. The existing student population is 8,574, down from 8,757 the same time last year.
"We know for a fact that Prop 300 had an impact," said Rod Fensom, Paradise Valley Community College's director of marketing and public relations.